‘Endless Wire’: Long live the Who: long live rock!

Justin Rodstrom

I must admit, I approached this album with great trepidation, skepticism and doubt.

With the epic labeling of “The Who” so boldly emblazoned on this album cover, it had certain expectations to fill, to say the least.

Questions quickly crept in: What is The Who without the thundering fists of Keith Moon? Without the pummeling bass lines of John Entwhistle? Without its youth and swagger? The answer: A force to be reckoned with.

This is your father’s Who; this is your Who; this is The Who in all its pomp, rebellious glory and stride. Sounding like the follow-up to 1969’s “Tommy,” “Endless Wire” pulls out all the stops, delivering on everything from “Baba O’Riley”-esque rock anthems to Pete Townshend’s patented rock operatics.

This album is a step forward and, at the same time, a summation of everything The Who has experienced and been over its long and storied career.

The culmination of six years of on-and-off recording in Townshend’s studio, along with songs written (but not recorded) in their heyday, “Endless Wire” is everything a Who fan could want.

The record was especially challenging for Townshend, who not only wrote all the songs and lyrics, but also orchestrated the string sections and played nearly all the instruments including bass, drums, violin, piano and banjo.

He even had a little time to add in some of his famous windmill guitar heroics.

Always playing the introspective punk, Townshend shows he’s still got the chops to play freely with that “distortion becomes somehow pure in its wildness” mentality, while never neglecting to give the listener reflective, intimate balladry sustained by the marred, heartfelt voice of an ageless Roger Daultry.

This album has it all and should dispel any skeptic, please any fan and encourage believers that rock still lives in the songs of Townshend and The Who.

Accompanying “Endless Wire” is a live CD and DVD. Contained in these great companions to the new album are classics like a brilliant 10-minute “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Baba O’Riley” and the great new “Mike Post Theme,” all garnering a warm reception.

The performance took place at the Vienne Amphitheatre in Lyon, France in front of a packed house. Together with “Endless Wire,” this is the perfect pick-up for any Who fan.

See Me, Hear Me: “Mike Post Theme,” “It’s Not Enough,” “Trilby’s Piano,” “Mirror Door”